Why I left, but why others should still give GeeksWithWives a chance…
It had actually been brewing for about a month or so, my departure. Things were getting worse and worse but I kept telling myself I was just over-reacting or that the stress from school was getting to me. These guys, well most of them, really are a geeky little family to me but the fun is gone.
The GWW ladies are vastly outnumbered, and I seemed to be one of the only ones actively contributing content. Not that the other few ladies aren’t working hard behind the scenes, they’re dedicating much time to keep things running…without pay. It’s volunteer work and is supposed to be for fun. Fun is they key word here, as I find discussing and debating my favorite franchises fun, hence why I jumped on the chance to participate…but as I’ll later explain, fun is only allowed for those who agree with the editors and editors close buddies right now.
The first real problem I had was when I designed and created their current logo and banner. I don’t know if they’ll keep using it, they’re more than welcome to. See, in my line of work a logo like that is actually worth a lot of money, assuming I don’t charge by the hour. The time I took to make it probably would have been more expensive. I did this for free while juggling school and life. I found it very rude that while I told them I was working on it it my spare time, I was getting pushy messages and given deadlines. They were nice enough to credit me in a couple tweets about the new logos (I would have loved to finished them up more but they got what they got because rush) but behind the scenes I got complaints about the girl standing and the guy sitting and/or about the girl getting to wear the cape – from GWW staff including the main man. On Twitter I saw much of the same, extremely sexist remarks about the logo. GWW did not stand up for my design at all. They asked for help updating GWW and helping it feel more inclusive, and when I did so I got praise in private and left to the wolves in public. For the most part, however, this wasn’t a make or break event – I was simply annoyed.
It was when they started recruiting questionable people, and put us in a chat program, that I really got tired. They recruited guys who took pleasure in calling many of my followers and I a “hate group” and treating us like scum. Sorry but, you don’t do that to your audience and you definitely don’t do it to your contributors that have been there longer. They brought with them an atmosphere of hostility that started shutting me out of many conversations as seasoned geeks even started picking sides. Suddenly, I was uninvited to pop in on certain podcasts because these hostile guys were given permanent seats. I started to feel left out and ostracized but when I brought up my feelings to one of my
co-hosts (and editor of comics section) I was chewed out and told to “cut the ‘boys club’ shit”. Any complaint of mine reduced to accusations of boys club…yet that’s what they are. That’s how they were founded! That’s what I thought I was there to help change!
I was also told I was there because I’m often an extremely contrasting voice. As I said I like debating my favorite things. That, too, was starting to get shut down. I started being told I wasn’t allowed to discuss/debate certain comic related news or my opinions cut off with “you just don’t like X art because you don’t like Y person – moving on.” Excuse me? I like some art but dislike the artist, the opposite is true as well. No one knows my opinions but me, until I voice them, which was being stopped.
Still I stuck it out. I “sucked it up” and kept giving them content. They let me write an article on #GamerGate, and it has such a warm reception among majority GWW that hope was renewed. Maybe I really was taking too much personally, maybe I could just ignore the shit-stirring assholes they’re choosing to keep on for whatever reason. However, a few days after the #GamerGate article posted the jerks were back at it and worse than ever. Everything I said in the messenger was either ignored or met with snarky rude replies.
Then they gave up my podcast seat to a newcomer. The Capes Crew cast was one of the main things I looked forward to every week. Every stressful, long, often hellish week I couldn’t wait to have a place to geek out over that weeks geek news or shows or the comics I read. New guy, however, likes the same things my co-host (and comics editor) likes. Why have a chick disagreeing when you can have an sausage echo chamber? The worst part of that wasn’t being rotated out of the podcast. The worst was that, early on with the GWW I asked if they could use another editor. I was getting very sick and tired of obvious, terrible grammar mistakes being ADDED to my articles by editors, and having to go back after the things published and fix them again. I was told they already had enough editors but I’d totally be kept in mind if a space opened. That was about a year ago. Then this new guy comes on and is instantly made an editor they didn’t even say they needed. I edit BOOKS for God’s sake…I edit research papers FOR FUN.
So, doing what I was meant to do isn’t rewarded. Going above and beyond isn’t rewarded. Being here and loyal longer than others isn’t rewarded.
Oh wait, supposedly it is. When you contribute to GWW you earn “points” that you can use to bid on prizes twice a year. Sounds pretty cool, but no one seems to know how many points you get for each task. My excitement for this idea faded quickly when I realized that the clique would probably just reward each other a gazillion points. In fact, whoever in charge of running the bidding could fudge whatever numbers he wanted to. It’s not much motivation when you already feel ostracized. I have to fight everyone over STUFF now too?
In the end, what led to me finally giving up was recently. The hardcore rudeness behind the scenes by even the EDITORS no less, became intolerable. Guys sharing stories about how they ended up hearing/reading AoU spoilers = fine. I jump in the convo with my own story and I get nearly the entire team jumping on me saying I’m immature for complaining. In fact, the one that instigated the rude backlash for jumping in that convo CHEWED ME OUT ON TWITTER FOR TWEETING AGENTS OF SHIELD. The very reason I stopped live tweeting with my live-tweeting buddies decided to jump my ass for mentioning how I got AoU spoilers. The next time I checked the chat a bunch were talking about the Suicide Squad costumes, and a friend of mine didn’t like Harley’s. Snide comments were made to him in response and I called them out on being rude before chatting the costume with another friend. An editor decided to throw a tantrum about calling out people on their rudeness. I was done. I am done. Those two conversations literally summed up by “We can be rude assholes whenever, how dare you point it out. Pointing it out makes you a rude asshole.”
Congrats GWW, you finally silenced that uppity vagina person using all the maturity and grace of a 3 year old boy.
Now, this whole thing has been pretty negative. It’s hard to remember the positive when you’ve finally been broken down to tears by a group that were supposed to have your back. In fact, I’m woman enough to admit I’m misty eyed again right now.
I want everyone to know, however, that GWW still has all the potential in the world. They’re changing, it’s just rather slow. They want to be inclusive, and they have been giving everyone a public voice. They let me post articles that other sites probably wouldn’t, and without GWW I would not have the knowledge or experience I do now. My year with GWW helped me learn a lot more about the creation process of comics, and helped me make friends and connections that will hopefully last a lifetime. After all the bull I feel I put up with, I STILL don’t actually want to leave. They let toxic people in, and it shoved me out.
I’ll still suggest anyone go check out their site, and contribute in fact! I just also recommend you both have a penis and love FemThor…otherwise…eesh.